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Ubuntu-Powered Tablets Coming From Startup MJ Technology

MJ Technology LLC announced the availability of its anticipated Ubuntu tablet line, revealing the specifications of its products and offering them for preorder on its upcoming website.

We first reported on MJ Technology back in December and were excited at the prospect of an OEM bringing Canonical's Ubuntu Touch operating system to a mobile device. It seems the dream is finally a reality, and Ubuntu users can now look forward to a tablet with some serious performance sporting the OS.

MJ Technology advertises these tablets with an Intel 2.4 GHz quad core processor inside, but aren't giving specific details on which Intel chips it's actually using. It could be that these specifications are not finalized yet, but with options for mobile quad core Intel processors limited, the tablets are likely loaded with the Bay Trail or newer Cherry Trail architectures. Either way, any recently available 2.4 GHz quad core Intel processor is plenty of performance for a tablet, and enough to forgive the ambiguity. With 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, the devices appear to offer ample horsepower for any task you could expect to perform on a tablet.

Internal storage for these devices is 64 GB by default, but there's a 128 GB option, too. The microSD slot can support up to 128 GB, so in theory you could have 256 GB of total storage if you combined the 128 GB internal storage and a 128 GB microSD card.

Additional connectivity includes one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, one micro USB port for charging devices, and external access to a mini PCI-Express slot. Normally, you wouldn't see a mini PCI-Express port on a tablet, and laptops generally don't provide easy access to it. It can be used to attach USB, wireless or video cards, but good luck finding one that will load Ubuntu drivers. The mini PCI-Express port can also be used for connecting diagnostic equipment via a data cable. Overall, the Ubuntu tablets appear quite versatile.

The two tablets come in 8.9- and 10.1-inch sizes, with both sporting 1920 x 1200 resolution 10-point multi-touch IPS touchscreens. A micro HDMI output provides more flexibility with display options, and there are onboard 8MP and 13MP cameras on the front and back of the device, respectively. Wireless access is provided by dual band 2.4/5 GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. The tablets also have Bluetooth 4.0, allowing users to connect an optional keyboard or other devices.

The 8.9-inch model has a 7,500 mAh battery designed for seven or eight hours of working time. The larger 10.1-inch version has a slightly more powerful 8,500 mAh battery, offering eight to nine hours of juice under standard operation.

MJ Technology is releasing the tablets with the latest version of Ubuntu Desktop with Unity, but will offer Ubuntu Touch in October once a stable version is released by Canonical. Users who choose to preorder can opt to stay with the loaded desktop version of Ubuntu or download the Ubuntu Touch OS once it is available.

These tablets seem more like powerful mini-laptops or Chromebooks considering their specs, and the MSRP suggests the Ubuntu-powered devices will compete directly with those bulkier alternatives. The 8.9-inch model is estimated to launch at $349, and the 10.1-inch model will be $399. You can preorder these Ubuntu tablets soon at MJ Technology's official website, and the company expects full retail availability some time in January.

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Derek Forrest
Derek Forrest is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes hardware news and reviews gaming desktops and laptops.